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| With Averill, and a year or two before
Call’d to the bar, but ever call'd away
By one low voice to one dear neighborhood,
That shook the heart of Edith hearing him.
Sanguine he was: a but less vivid hue
Than of that islet in the chestnut-bloom
Flamed in his cheek; and eager eyes, that still Here is a story which in rougher shape
Took joyful note of all things joyful, beam'd Came from a grizzled cripple, whom I saw
Beneath a manelike mass of rolling gold, Sunning himself in a waste field alone
| Their best and brightest, when they dwelt on hers, Old, and a mine of memories-who had served, Edith, whose pensive beauty, perfect else, Long since, a bygone Rector of the place,
But subject to the season or the mood, And been himself a part of what he told.
Shone like a mystic star between the less
And greater glory varying to and fro, Sır AYLMER AYLMER, that almighty man,
We know not wherefore; bounteously made, The county God-in whose capacious hall,
And yet so finely, that a troublous touch Hung with a hundred shields, the family tree Thinn'd, or would seem to thin her in a day, Sprang from the midriff of a prostrate king
A joyous to dilate, as toward the light. Whose blazing wyvern weathercock'd the spire, And these had been together from the first. Stood from his walls and wing'd his entry-gates Leolin's first nurse was, five years after, hers: And swang besides on many a windy sign
So much the boy foreran ; but when his date Whose eyes from under a pyramidal head
Doubled her own, for want of playmates, he Saw from his windows nothing save his own (Since Averill was a decade and a half What lovelier of his own had he than her,
His elder, and their parents underground) His only child, his Edith, whom he loved
Had tost his ball and flown his kite, and rollid As heiress and not heir regretfully?
His hoop to pleasure Edith, with her dipt But "he that marries her marries her name"
Against the rush of the air in the prone swing, This fiat somewhat soothed himself and wife, Made blossom-ball or daisy-chain, arranged His wife a faded beauty of the Baths,
Her garden, sow'd her name and kept it green Insipid as the queen upon a card :
In living letters, told her fairy-tales,
The little dells of cowslip, fairy palms, .
The petty marestail forest, fairy pines, A land of hops and poppy-mingled corn,
Or from the tiny pitted target blew Little about it stirring save a brook!
What look'd a flight of fairy arrows aim'd A sleepy land where under the same wheel
All at one mark, all hitting: make-believes The same old rut would deepen year by year; For Edith and himself: or else he forged, Where almost all the village had one name;
But that was later, boyish histories Where Aylmer follow'd Aylmer at the Hall
Of battle, bold adventure, dungeon, wreck, And Averill Averill at the Rectory
Flights, terrors, sudden rescues, and true love Thrice over; so that Rectory and Hall,
Crown'd after trial; sketches rude and faint, Bound in an immemorial intimacy,
But where a passion yet unborn perhaps
Lay hidden as the music of the moon
And thus together, save for college-times
As ever painter painted, poet sang, Daughters of God; so sleepy was the land.
Or Heav'n in lavish bounty moulded, grew.
And more and more, the maiden woman-grown, And might not Averill, had he will'd it so, He wasted hours with Averill; there, when first Somewhere beneath his own low range of roofs, The tented winter-field was broken up Have also set his many-shielded tree?
Into that phalanx of the summer spears There was an Aylmer-Averill marriage once,
That soon should wear the garland; there again When the red rose was redder than itself,
When burr and bine were gather'd; lastly there And York's white rose as red as Lancaster's,
At Christmas; ever welcome at the Hall, With wounded peace which each had prick'd to On whose dull sameness his full tide of youth death.
Broke with a phosphorescence cheering even “Not proven," Averill said, or laughingly,
My lady; and the Baronet yet had laid "Some other race of Averills"-prov'n or no, No bar between them: dull and self-involved, What cared he? what, if other or the same?
Tall and erect, but bending from his height He lean'd not on his fathers but himself.
With half-allowing smiles for all the world, But Leolin, his brother, living oft
| And mighty courteous in the main-his pride
Lay deeper than to wear it as his ring
Sir Aylmer half forgot his lazy smile He, like an Aylmer in his Aylmerism,
Of patron “Good ! my lady's kinsman! good !" Would care no more for Leolin's walking with her My lady with her fingers interlock'd, Than for his old Newfoundland's, when they ran And rotatory thumbs on silken knees, To loose him at the stables, for he rose
Call'd all her vital spirits into each ear
To listen : unawares they flitted off,
The meteor of a splendid season, she,
Once with this kinsman, ah so long ago, Seldom, but when he does, Master of all.
Stept thro’ the stately minuet of those days:
But Edith's eager fancy hurried with him
Till Leolin ever watchful of her eye
Hated him with a momentary hate. Bound, but an immemorial intimacy,
Wife-hunting, as the rumor ran, was he: Wander'd at will, but oft accompanied
I know not, for he spoke not, only shower'd
His oriental gifts on every one
And shook the house, and like a storm he went.
Among the gifts he left her (possibly The magic cup that fill'd itself apew.
He flow'd and ebb’d uncertain, to return
When others had been tested) there was one, A whisper half reveal'd her to herself.
A dagger, in rich sheath with jewels on it For out beyond her lodges, where the brook Sprinkled about in gold that branch'd itself Vocal, with here and there a silence, ran
Fine as ice-ferns on January panes By sallowy rims, arose the laborers' homes,
Made by a breath. I know not whence at first, A frequent haunt of Edith, on low knolls
Nor of what race, the work; but as he told That dimpling died into each other, huts
The story, storming a hill-fort of thieves At random scatter'd, each a nest in bloom.
He got it; for their captain after fight, Her art, her hand, her counsel all had wrought His comrades having fought their last below, About them : here was one that, summer-blanch'd, Was climbing up the valley; at whom he shot: Was parcel-bearded with the traveller's-joy
Down from the beetling crag to which he clung In Autumn, parcel ivy-clad ; and here
Tumbled the tawny rascal at his feet, The warm-blue breathings of a hidden hearth
This dagger with him, which when now admired
At once the costly Sahib yielded to her.
And Leolin, coming after he was gone,
Tost over all her presents petulantly: Like visions in the Northern dreamer's heavens, And when she show'd the wealthy scabbard, saying A lily-avenue climbing to the doors ;
“Look what a lovely piece of workmanship!" One, almost to the martin-haunted eaves
Slight was his answer “Well-I care not for it :" A summer burial deep in hollyhocks ;
Then playing with the blade he prick'd his hand, Each, its own charm; and Edith's everywhere; "A gracious gift to give a lady, this !" And Edith ever visitant with him,
“But would it be more gracious," ask'd the girl, He but less loved than Edith, of her poor:
“Were I to give this gift of his to one For she-so lowly-lovely and so loving,
That is no lady?” “Gracious ? No," said he. Queenly responsive when the loyal hand
“Me?-but I cared not for it. O pardon me, Rose from the clay it work'd in as she past, I seem to be ungraciousness itself.” Not sowing hedgerow texts and passing by, “Take it,” she added sweetly, “ tho' his gift; Nor dealing goodly counsel from a height
For I am more ungracious ev'n than you. That makes the lowest hate it, but a voice
I care not for it either;" and he said Of comfort and an open hand of help,
"Why then I love it:" but Sir Aylmer past, A splendid presence flattering the poor roofs
And neither loved nor liked the thing he heard. Revered as theirs, but kindlier than themselves To ailing wife or wailing infancy
The next day came a neighbor. Blues and reds Or old bedridden palsy,-was adored ;
They talk'd of: blues were sure of it, he thought: : He, loved for her and for himself. A grasp
Then of the latest fox_where started-kill'd
My Peter, first:" and did Sir Aylmer know
That great pock-pitten fellow had been caught ? Were no false passport to that easy realm,
Then made his pleasure echo, hand to hand, Where once with Leolin at her side the girl,
And rolling as it were the substance of it Nursing a child, and turning to the warmth
Between his palms a moment up and downThe tender pink five-beaded baby-soles,
“The birds were warm, the birds were warm upon Heard the good mother softly whisper “Bless,
him; God bless 'em; marriages are made in Heaven.” We have him now:” and had Sir Aylmer heard-:
Nay, but he must--the land was ringing of itA flash of semi-jealousy cleard it to her.
This blacksmith-border marriage--one they knewMy Lady's Indian kipsman unannounced
Raw from the nursery--who could trust a child? With half a score of swarthy faces came.
That cnrsed France with her egalities ! His own, tho' keen and bold and soldierly,
And did Sir Aylmer (deferentially Sear'1 by the close ecliptic, was not fair;
With nearing chair and lower'd accent) thinkFairer his talk, a tongue that ruled the honr,
For people talk'd that it was wholly wise Tho' seeming boastful: so when first he dash'd To let that handsome fellow Averill walk Into the chronicle of a deedful day,
| So freely with his daughter? people talk'd
The boy might get a notion into him ;
| He must have seen, himself had seen it long; The girl might be entangled ere she knew.
He must have known, himself had known: besides, Sir Aylmer slowly stiffening spoke:
He never yet had set his daughter forth “The girl and boy, Sir, know their differences !" Here in the woman-markets of the west, "Good," said his friend, “but watch !" and he Where our Caucasians let themselves be sold. "enough,
Some one, he thought, had slander'd Leolin to him. More than enough, Sir! I can guard my own.” “ Brother, for I have loved you more as son They parted, and Sir Aylmer Aylmer watch'd. Than brother, let me tell you: I myself
What is their pretty saying ? jilted, is it?
Jilted I was: I say it for your peace.
I lived for years a stunted sunless life;
Till after our good parents past away Which Leolin open'd, she cast back upon him Watching your growth, I seem'd again to grow. A piteous glance, and vanish'd. He, as oue Leolin, I almost sin in envying you: Caught in a burst of unexpected storm,
The very whitest lamb in all my fold And pelted with outrageous epithets,
Loves you: I know her: the worst thought she has Turning beheld the Powers of the House
Is whiter even than her pretty hand: On either side the hearth, indignant; her,
She must prove true: for, brother, where two fight Cooling her false cheek with a feather-fan,
The strongest wins, and truth and love are strength, Him glaring, by his own stale devil spurr'd,
And you are happy: let her parents be.” And, like a beast hard-ridden, breathing hard. “Ungenerous, dishonorable, base,
But Leolin cried out the more upon themPresumptuous ! trusted as he was with her,
Insolent, brainless, heartless! heiress, wealth, The sole succeeder to their wealth, their lands, Their wealth, their heiress! wealth enough was theirs The last remaining pillar of their house,
For twenty matches. Were he lord of this, The one transmitter of their ancient name,
Why twenty boys and girls should marry on it, Their child.” “Our child !" "Our heiress !" "Ours !" | And forty blest ones bless him, and himself for still,
Be wealthy still, ay wealthier. He believed Like echoes from beyond a hollow, came
This filthy marriage-hindering Mammon made Her sicklier iteration. Last he said
The harlot of the cities; nature crost “Boy, mark me! for your fortunes are to make. Was mother of the foul adulteries I swear you shall not make them out of mine. That saturate soul with body. Name, too ! name, Now inasmuch as you have practised on her,
Their ancient name! they might be proud ; its worth Perplext her, made her half forget herself,
Was being Edith's. Ah how pale she had look'd Swerve from her duty to herself and us
Darling, to-night! they must have rated her Things in an Aylmer deem'd impossible,
Beyond all tolerance. These old pheasant-lords, Far as we track ourselves—I say that this,
These partridge-breeders of a thousand years, Else I withdraw favor and countenance
Who had mildew'd in their thousands, doing nothing From you and yours forever-shall you do.
Since Egbert-why, the greater their disgrace ! Sir, when you see her-but you shall not see her - Fall back upon a name ! rest. rot in that! No, you shall write, and not to her, but me:
Not keep it noble, make it nobler? fools, And you shall say that having spoken with me, With such a vantage-ground for nobleness, And after look'd into yourself, you find
He had known a man, a quintessence of man, That you meant nothing--as indeed you know The life of all-who madly loved-and he, That you meant nothing. Such a match as this! Thwarted by one of those old father-fools, Impossible, prodigious !" These were words,
Had rioted his life out, and made an end. As meted by his measure of himself,
He would not do it! her sweet face and faith Arguing boundiess forbearance: after which,
Held him from that: but he had powers, he knew it: And Leolin's horror-stricken answer, “I
Back would he to his studies, make a name, So foul a traitor to myself and her,
Name, fortune too: the world should ring of him Never, O never,” for about as long
To shame these mouldy Aylmers in their graves : As the wind-hover hangs in balance, paused
Chancellor, or what is greatest would he beSir Aylmer reddening from the storm within, “O brother, I am grieved to iearn your griefThen broke all bonds of courtesy, and crying Give me my fling, and let me say my say." “Boy, should I find you by my doors again My men shall lash you from them like a dog; At which, like one that sees his own excess, Hence !” with a sudden execration drove
And easily forgives it as his own. The footstool from before him, and arose ;
He laugh'd; and then was mute; but presently So, stammering “scoundrel” out of teeth that ground Wept like a storm: and honest Averill seeing As in a dreadful dream, while Leolin still
How low his brother's mood had fallen, fetch'd Retreated half-aghast, the fierce old man
His richest beeswing from a binn reserved Follow'd, and under his own lintel stood
For banquets, praised the waning red, and told Storming with lifted hands, a hoary face
The vintage--when this Aylmer came of ageMeet for the reverence of the hearth, but now, Then drank and past it: till at length the two, Beneath a pale and unimpassion'd moon,
Tho' Leolin flamed and fell again, agreed Vext with unworthy madness, and deform'd.
That much allowance must be made for men.
After an angry dream this kindlier glow
Faded with morning, but his purpose held.
A perilous meeting under the tall pines
That darken'd all the northward of her Hall. Down thro' the bright lawns to his brother's ran, Him, to her meek and modest bosom prest And foam'd away his heart at Averill's ear:
In agony, she promised that no force, Whom Averill solaced as he might, amazed :
Persuasion, no, nor death could alter her: The man was his, had been his father's friend: He, passionately hopefuller, would go,
Labor for his own Edith, and return
nor, and became in other fields In such a sunlight of prosperity
A mockery to the yeomen over ale, He should not be rejected. “Write to me!
And laughter to their lords: but those at home. They loved me, and because I love their child As hunters round a hunted creature draw They hate me: there is war between us, dear, The cordon close and closer toward the death, Which breaks all bonds but ours; we must remain Narrow'd her goings out and comings in; Sacred to one another." So they talk'd,
Forbade her first the house of Averill, Poor children, for their comfort: the wind blew; Then closed her access to the wealthier farms, The rain of heaven, and their own bitter tears, Last from her own home-circle of the poor Tears, and the careless rain of heaven, mixt
They barr'd her: yet she bore it: yet her cheek Upon their faces, as they kiss'd each other
Kept color: wondrous ! but, O mystery! In darkness, and above them roard the pine. What amulet drew her down to that old oak,
So old, that twenty years before, a part So Leolin went; and as we task ourselves
Falling had let appear the brand of JohnTo learn a language known but smatteringly Once grovelike, each huge arm a tree, but now In phrases here and there at random, toil'd
The broken base of a black tower, a cave Mastering the lawless science of our law,
Of touchwood, with a single flourishing spray. That codeless myriad of precedent,
There the manorial lord too curiously That wilderness of single instances,
Raking in that millennial touchwood-dust Thro' which a few, by wit or fortune led,
Found for himself a bitter treasure-trove; May beat a pathway out to wealth and fame. Burst his own wyvern on the seal, and read The jests, that flash'd about the pleader's room, Writhing a letter from his child, for which Lightning of the hour, the pun, the scurrilous tale, Came at the moment Leolin's emissary, Old scandals buried now seven decades deep
A crippled lad, and coming turn'd to fly, In other scandals that have lived and died,
But scared with threats of jail and halter gave And left the living scandal that shall die
To him that flusterd his poor parish wits Were dead to him already ; bent as he was
The letter which he brought, and swore besides To make disproof of scorn, and strong in hopes, To play their go-between as heretofore And prodigal of all brain-labor he,
Nor let them know themselves betray'd, and then, Charier of sleep, and wine and exercise,
Soul-stricken at their kindness to him, went Except when for a breathing-while at eve
Hating his own lean heart and miserable.
Thenceforward oft from out a despot dream
Thro' the dim meadow toward his treasure-trove, Yet fragrant in a heart remembering
Seized it, took home, and to my lady, who made His former talks with Edith, on him breathed A downward crescent of her minion mouth, Far purelier in his rushings to and fro,
Listless in all despondence, read; and tore, After his books, to flush his blood with air,
As if the living passion symbol'd there Then to his books again. My lady's cousin,
Were living nerves to feel the rent; and burnt, Half-sickening of his pensioned afternoon,
Now chafing at his own great self defied, Drove in upon the the student once or twice, Now striking on huge stumbling-blocks of scorn Ran a Malayan muck against the times,
In babyisms, and dear diminutives Had golden hopes for France and all mankind, Scatter'd all over the vocabulary Answer'd all queries touching those at home
Of such a love as like a chidden babe, With a heaved shoulder and a saucy smile,
After much wailing, hush'd itself at last And fain had haled him out into the world,
Hopeless of answer: then tho' Averill wrote And air'd him there: his nearer friend would say, And bade him with good heart sustain himself“Screw not the cord too sharply lest it snap." All would be well—the lover heeded not, Then left alone he pluck'd her dagger forth
But passionately restless came and went, From where his worldless heart had kept it warm, And rustling once at night about the place, Kissing his vows upon it like a knight.
There by a keeper shot at, slightly hurt, And wrinkled benchers often talk'd of him
Raging return'd: nor was it well for her Approvingly, and prophesied his rise:
Kept to the garden now, and grove of pines, For heart, I think, help'd head: her letters too, Watch'd even there : and one was set to watch Tho' far between, and coming fitfully
The watcher, and Sir Aylmer watch'd them all, Like broken music, written as she found
Yet bitterer from his readings : once indeed. Or made occasion, being strictly watch'd,
Warm'd with his wines, or taking pride in her, Charm'd him thro' every labyrinth till he saw She look'd so sweet, he kiss'd her tenderly, An end, a hope, a light breaking upon him.
Not knowing what possess'd him: that one kiss
Was Leolin's one strong rival upon earth ; But they that cast her spirit into flesh,
Seconded, for my lady follow'd suit, Her worldly-wise begetters, plagued themselves Seem'd hope's returning rose: and then ensued To sell her, those good parents, for her good.
A Martin's summer of his faded love,
Or ordeal by kindness; after this
The mother flow'd in shallower acrimonies:
Never one kindly smile, one kindly word:
With twenty months of silence, slowly lost
Nor greatly cared to lose, her hold on life. Sullen, defiant, pitying, wroth, return'd
Last, some low fever ranging round to spy Leolin's rejected rivals from their suit
The weakness of a people or a house, so often, that the folly taking wings
Like flies that haunt a wound, or deer, or men, Slipt o'er those lazy limits down the wind
| Or almost all that is, hurting the hurt
Save Christ as 'we believe him--found the girl
Star to star vibrates light: may soul to soul Strike thro' a finer element of her own ? So,-from afar,-touch as at once? or why That night, that moment, when she named his name. Did the keen shriek, “Yes love, yes Edith, yes,” Shrill, till the comraàe of his chambers woke, And came upon him half-arisen from sleep, With a weird bright eye, sweating and trembling, His hair as it were crackling into flames, His body half flung forward in pursuit, And his long arms stretch'd as to grasp a flyer: Nor knew he wherefore he had made the cry: And being much befool'd and idioted By the rough amity of the other, sank As into sleep again. The second day, My lady's Indian kinsman rushing in, A breaker of the bitter news from home, Found a dead man, a letter edged with death Beside bim, and the dagger which himself Gave Edith, redden'd with no bandit's blood “From Edith” was engraven on the blade.
Then Averill went and gazed upon his death. And when he came again, his flock believed Beholding how the years which are not Time's Had blasted him—that many thousand days Were clipt by horror from his term of life. Yet the sad mother, for the second death Scarce touch'd her thro' that nearness of the first, And being used to find her pastor texts, Sent to the harrow'd brother, praying him To speak before the people of her child, And fixt the Sabbath. Darkly that day rose: Autumn's mock sunshine of the faded woods Was all the life of it ; for hard on these, A breathless burthen of low-folded heavens Stifled and chill'd at once: but every roof Sent out a listener: many too had known Edith among the hamlets round, and since The parents' harshness and the hapless loves And double death were widely murmur'd, left Their own gray tower, or plain-faced tabernacle, To hear him; all in mourning these, and those With blots of it about them, ribbon, glove Or kerchief; while the church,-one night, except For greenish glimmerings thro' the lancets,-made Still paler the pale head of him, who tower'd Above them, with his hopes in either grave.
And to thy worst self sacrifice thyself,
Long o'er his bent brows linger'd Averill, His face magnetic to the hand from which Livid he pluck'd it forth, and labor'd thro' His brief prayer-prelude, gave the verse “Behold, Your house is left unto you desolate !" But lapsed into so long a pause again As half amazed, half frighted all his flock: Then from his height and loneliness of grief Bore down in flood, and dash'd his angry heart Against the desolations of the world.
Never since our bad earth became one sea, Which rolling o'er the palaces of the proud, And all but those who knew the living GodEight that were left to make a purer worldWhen since had flood, fire, earthquake, thunder,
wrought Such waste and havoc as the idolatries, Which from the low light of mortality Shot up their shadows to the Heaven of Heavens, And worshipt their own darkness as the Highest ? "Gash thyself, priest, and honor thy brute Baäl,